Friday, January 30, 2009

I will not be labelled

Why is there a need to give everything a name? Admittedly, psychology is not the best subject to study if you hold this attitude as it labels every ailment and symptom but seriously, does everything need to be a 'condition' or an 'issue'? What exactly is this magic formula to which we are supposed to conform in order to be 'normal' and to not be labelled as *insert whatever condition your behaviour apparently displays*? Does everyone who diverges from this norm have said condition? It seems as though as long as you even remotely match the textbook description of something, you suddenly get labelled as it. Could it be that you just do some things differently to others? What suddenly makes this difference in your behaviour the manifestation of an entire condition? And not only are certain behaviours matched to certain conditions but if your behaviour, heaven forbid, is even slightly ab'normal' then before you know it a new condition has been formed in order to categorise the behaviour. There's a constant flow of new 'conditions', yet to be officially listed as true medical conditions, some which end up listed and some which don't. Surely if we keep adding new words to diagnostic manuals, people will soon be unable to avoid having their behaviours assessed in order to be given one of these labels. And then, once you've been labelled as whatever you apparently are, you then become the condition yourself. You're a 'hyperchondriAC' not someone with hyperchondria, you're an 'alcoholIC' not someone who suffers with alcoholism, you're 'schizophrenIC' not someone with schizophrenia etc etc. Obviously labels are important in order for people who are genuinely ill to be treated in the best way but I'm just agitated by all these 'disorders' that are creeping into use which aren't really disorders but are simply people deviating, sometimes only slightly, from cultural and social norms.

I found this article which sums it up in a nutshell (I actually found it after writing all of the above, just to point out I'm not just regurgitating stuff I've read), I'm on the side of Szasz.
Click here

From the article:

"The D.S.M., currently in its fourth edition, classifies serious mental illnesses like psychoses and schizophrenia, but critics say it also medicalizes many behaviors once considered traceable to character flaws."

"Dr. Thomas S. Szasz, a Syracuse psychiatrist and the author of ''The Myth of Mental Illness,'' the landmark 1961 book that argued that psychiatry consistently expands its definition of mental illness to impose its authority over moral and cultural conflict."

"as recently as 18 years ago, the D.S.M. had only 106 mental disorders, while in the mid-19th century, before the D.S.M., the Federal Government recognized only one: idiocy/insanity. Now, he added, less money is available to treat those with serious, debilitating mental illnesses whose sufferers have little clout. "

"Road rage disorder is the current favorite in the pack of hopefuls jockeying for position."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

the world is plotting against me

The route of the problem lies in the insanity of the people who make exam timetables. An exam at 9am. It wouldn't be that bad if the location of the exam didn't involve a tram journey. Because that means being up and ready in time to walk down to the nearest tram stop (or should I say least furthest tram stop) and then leaving enough time for the 10 minute tram journey and the bit at the other end where you have to wander around for a bit trying to find the actual place. Once all this has been achieved, plus the mandatory 10 minutes standing outside mass freakout, you're not looking at a 9am start but a 7:30 start.
So begins my night of terror.
I promised myself I would stop getting anxious over exams and that I'd stop freaking out about them. So the night before I had my Horlicks, had a shower and settled down to sleep- at 10:30pm. An hour later I was still awake, failing at my best attempts to keep above promise. Still, I thought, 11:30 isn't that late, I'll still have 8 hours sleep. An hour later and the hours of sleep dwindled to 7. Still a fair sleep. 12:30am. The residents of Tapton awake. Cue 2 and a half hours of drum and bass music loud enough to make my bed vibrate, about 4 different conversations within earshot, coming from above, below and across from my room, voices seeping into my room through every crack/wall and sporadic banging noises and blasts of a trumpet.
3am. It's gone quiet, well less noisy anyway. Finally I start drifting off to sleep every so often but not for more than a couple of minutes.
4am. The fire alarm goes off. At this point life seemed to have passed far beyond the mildly frustrating phase and into the 'the world is plotting against me' phase. So, on goes the dressing gown. There I am, standing outside in my pajamas in sub minus temperatures among roughly 100 drunk people and feeling pretty sorry for myself and crying a lot.
4:30am Kicked off my shoes and literally dove back into bed.
5am. Asleep at last.
6am. Wake up thanks to a nightmare.
6:30am Fall to sleep
7:15am Alarm rings.

I hope next time they schedule an exam in the early hours of the morning, they might have the sense to realise that they should probably be a bit more strict on noise. But at least I made it to the exam, unlike the person I was supposed to be going with.

And all this just leaves me wondering what has our society come to when people are so damn inconsiderate that they think it's ok to make as much noise as they like and set off fire alarms during exam period.

Friday, January 16, 2009

almost makes me want to learn to knit

just some ramble about the 'atheist buses'

I'm really inspired by this man's integrity and thought I'd post it as a lesson for all but predominantly as a reminder to myself.

I have nothing against atheists posting their opinions on buses, but it annoys me how the wording they choose is so deliberately provacative (which I think is fair to say considering Richard Dawkins is the bank account behind their existence). There are better ways to state your belief in nothing than creating a clever sounding slogan which actually promotes ignorance and then placing it among impressionable members of the public.
So we've had the "is there more to life than this?" posters followed by the "there's probably no God, stop worrying" posters... what's next? "you're both wrong, it was the cookie monster all along" posters?
At least (I hope) the church has the sense not to provide a comeback as an ensuing argument would be ridiculously tedious and I'm still wondering where the need for the atheist slogans came from, the Alpha ones at least had the point of inviting people to find out more (in a non offensive way I might add) whereas the "there's probably no God" posters don't seem to be a particularly enriching contribution to the already complex confusion surrounding the issue.
There's nothing like taking a stroll down the street, pondering the meaning of life, only to have the hope filled message of "there's probably no God, stop worrying" float past.*

*Just feel the need to clarify, that's SARCASM for anyone who's notoriously bad for picking up on it, like myself.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

sharing the pain

How much mess can one person acquire in 3 weeks? Apparently vast amounts, as I have discovered now that it has come to 'pack up for uni' time. So instead of wallowing in the pain of it (I write this between putting loads into the washing machine, filling up the dishwasher and trying to collect together all my revision notes) I thought I'd share my pain. It doesn't help that the mother has gone away until after I go back which means I have to sort all this out for myself and try and imagine where my mum might have put all the things that are missing due to being 'tidied up' into the mother's black hole. Anyway, in an attempt to allay the stress of tidying, here are some pictures of what I'm contending with:

And that's just one room.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

the straw that broke the camel's back

Don't you just hate it when life takes a dump on your head. Especially when what's absolute crap for you is actually great but you're selfish so it's not great. Because then you get that familiar feeling where you're torn because you know you should be pleased and you are but at the same time it sucks and when you think about it, you're actually just gutted.
Don't you just hate it when above situation happens on the back of too many other similar situations which have all descended on you in a short space of time, and you think you were so strong for allowing yourself to come to terms with it the first three times but this time you just can't be ok about it in the same way you forced yourself to be all the other times.

And then you just have no idea what to do/think/feel.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

reflecting on reflections but roaming into rambling

So I just had a little re-read of some of what I've written on here over the past 10 months and I've drawn a few conclusions.

1) I was the world's biggest stresspot over exams and I should have believed a) my Dad when he told me I'd get into Sheffield, b) my sisters when they told me A-levels aren't that big a deal, and c) the 20,000 people who thought saying "you'll be fine" would help matters.

2) I've been far too honest. I don't know what has compelled me at times to hurl into cyberspace details about my acne, leg hair and boob size let alone all the anecdotes in which I've divulged details of drunken nights, rants about how awful life is and videos of me jumping around singing. I read a particularly worrying corresponding secret on postsecret this week. It said: "you think i'm reading your mind but really i'm just reading your blog". I've tried to protect myself against this by being overly open about my blog. It's not secret or private and I'm fully aware anyone could be reading it (as I discovered, but that's another story) but at the same time I often assume less people keep up with it than in reality, as I discovered when I accidentally went into diary mode and discovered I'm accountable to a lot more people than I accounted for!

3) There is absolutely no consistency in what, how or when I write. Now I'm stuck. On the one hand I could blame the erratic-ness on my creative nature but today I read in my textbook that creative people usually have a mental disorder of some description. I suppose Emily Bronte and Virginia Woolf (coincedentally my two favourite writers) don't hold the fort too well on this one, two perfect examples of the hypothesis. On the other hand (there was a one hand back there somewhere) I'm left having to admit that I'm just a lazy writer who hasn't developed a style (yet). Not that I really care, as I described in my blogging etiquette blog, writing to formula is stupid and trying to conform to a set style is just stupider (or more stupid for that matter). And I'm also tempted to conclude that my writing style is getting worse, quite possibly correlated to the times at which I blog... can anyone actually write something coherent at 5am? I'll let you know when I get my grade back for my sociology essay.

Anyway, 3 conclusions is enough, I'm not sure it's healthy to analyse a blog to that level. But just to ramble on about a few other observations... I seemed to really care, to begin with, that I would look narcisstic by keeping a blog. Now, I figure that all writers are narcisstic... as someone once said, the biography of any character is that of the author. Not really, I would still hate to make a narcisstic impression with my blog but at the same time, I'm not quite so paranoid that it'll look like that. I think I should be more worried about sounding snobby, although that said, I will never, ever find it within myself to be sympathetic of bad spelling. Especially from other bloggers.
As I've blogged, it's also become a lot more important to me, as has writing in general. I started blogging mainly thanks to Brooke's influence but also thanks to a note I wrote on facebook describing my trip to the Sheffield open day to which 8 people responded which made me realise that other people can find silly anecdotes quite funny. Anyway, nowadays I blog and keep a journal and have done other writing jobs which I would boast about if I was into self-promoting. And I absolutely love writing. Especially as I never seem to be able to say how I feel or what I mean, which usually results in, at worst, me saying something I really regret or at best, just contradicting myself and sounding like I don't really know anything... which I sometimes think I don't. Whoever I talk to and whatever about, my sentences always end up disintegrating into me saying "I don't know" which I've discovered is never actually helpful. But when I blog, I can spend lots of time trying to think of the right words to say (and although it'd be dire to admit, I've learnt my fair share of new words courtesy of over the past 10 months) and if I blog something and regret it the next day, it's all gone and undone at the click of a button... and you can't regret what you write in a journal, you just cringe to death reading it afterwards. And that is why I love writing and also why I nearly always write to someone if it's something serious.

Hmm well the little flashing cursor has disappeared which I'm taking to be a sign that I should stop blogging, as all I'm really doing is adding more babble to the pre-existing babble I'm babbling about and cringing over. So, for the people who do still read my blog, there's very little chance that anytime soon I'll stop; making blogs full of pointless continuous prose, blogging with lyrics and an accompanying youtube video of the song, posting up photos of the squalor in which I live (having done this 3 times now, it seems to earn it's place in this list), referring you to stupid newspaper articles, telling you my schedule for the coming month, or, blogging randomly about something serious and/or religious.

So, 7am start tomorrow anyone?

Friday, January 09, 2009


Fall Down By Jennifer Knapp

Judge Me Not Ye Saints
For My History May Be Tainted
But I'm Sober Enough To Know Blood When I See It
I've Borne My Share Of Stones
Most Of Them Easily Thrown
But Who's To Deny
Your Water-Shed Side
Leading Me Home?


What Am I Supposed To Do About It Now?
Past Regrets And Long Laments They Find Me Somehow
O, What Am I Supposed To Do About It Now?
What Have I To Do But Fall Down?
To Spy From Far Away
May Seem That I'm One To Betray
But O, How I Try
The Spirit To Guide
The Promise You Made


Hold Me Up
Never Let Me Go
Love Me When I Am Broken
And Speak To Me

This is her singing it live, the song starts around 1.20:

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Just lots of unrelated anecdotes.

So I haven't blogged for a while... or what is a while in my terms anyway and my poor excuse is my brand spanking new journal which has stolen the place of my blog as my therapy. It was incredibly distressing to finish my old one, I'm not gonna lie, it was amazing as made by my crafty hands but I figured as it's a new year, I could stretch to a new journal instead of just adding more pages to the old one. So, one long, expensive trip to Hobbycraft and a few hours cutting and sticking later, and I have a new one which looks pretty much the same as the old one but with more pages in anticipation of all my creative musings (i wish).

Anyway, I've got 2 more weeks left til I have to go back to uni for exams and I am looking forward to tomorrow immensely as it's the start of the 1st week I get the house to myself during the day, meaning I can get up to whatever uninterrupted mischief I want, namely procrastination.

I'm going to be overly honest here and talk resolutions. Last year, I managed to fulfil my hope for 08, although pretty much in the nick of time, as it's only been in the past month or two that I've been doing it. I don't really want to broadcast what it was although it's not a secret. I am pleased with myself though as I think when I made it my hope I didn't think in a million years I'd get to the place of fulfilling it. This year, my resolution is to stick to my morals more. I'm so good at giving into peer pressure and uni has taken its toll on my impressionable nature. I'm not exactly a rebellious wildchild (don't get me wrong :S) but I'm not the obedient God-pleaser I aspire to be either and if there's one thing I can't tolerate, it's being inbetween anything (which is definitely not always a good thing). Talking of last minute achievements, I always said Id learn the guitar in 08 but never did. Anyway, I started to learn some chords on the 20th Dec and managed to learn 15 chords and be able to play a few songs by the 31st. Now my corridormates get the joy of hearing me strumming chords on my out of tune guitar (I don't know how you tune them!) and screeching along to Kelly Clarkson at the top of my lungs.

My mum got a wii fit for Christmas which definitely deserves a mention as it's become the central amusement of the Sweeney household. (wow writing that brings back memories of the Sweeney newsletter me and Claire used to make and distribute to our parents and siblings, informing them of what they'd been up to recently). It's an ongoing battle with 4 of us (mum dad rach and me) all trying to outdo each others scores on the games. Mum's been on it everyday since Christmas as I get informed of by the handy chart, on display for all, which records every minute you spend on it, not to mention your BMI and every slight weight fluctuation. I like it although in a particularly typical fashion of myself, there's only a couple of games I like so I play them over and over rather than doing it all.

I can't think of much else to report on, there was New Years and a few other nights out, none of which have details appropriate for the blog although sadly home friends aren't quite as sensitive with their photo censoring as my friends from uni are, resulting in evidence plastered across facebook for anyone to see and every so often I suddenly recall another certain person I have as a friend on facebook and the embarrassment sets in all over again.

Anyway, yea that's it...